Symphony No. 3 in C major, Op. 52
Symphony No. 6 in D minor, Op. 104
- Symphony No. 7 in C major, Op. 105 (22:33)
Finnish conductor Osmo Vänskä has conducted the music of Jean Sibelius throughout his career, and he first recorded the seven symphonies in the mid-1990s with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra on BIS. This 2016 release of the "Symphony No. 3 in C major," the "Symphony No. 6 in D minor," and the "Symphony No. 7 in C major" completes Vänskä's second Sibelius cycle, also released on BIS but performed this time by the Minnesota Orchestra. Comparisons between the two cycles are inevitable, and while the interpretations are rather similar in pacing and feeling, and the playing is excellent in both, the particulars are a matter of personal preference. However, there is an important difference in the quality of reproduction. The recordings by the Lahti Symphony Orchestra were issued as CDs and were fine for their time, but the Minnesota Orchestra's recordings benefit tremendously from the advances in audiophile technology, and the multichannel sound of this hybrid SACD is a big plus. Not only is the dynamic range extremely wide, all the details of the performances are absolutely clear, whether at pianissimo or fortissimo levels. The warmth and depth of the audio are extraordinary, and tone colors are varied and distinct, with ideal separation of parts. Sample the low brass in the third movement of the "Symphony No. 3" to feel how vibrant they are, or try the marvelous string passage at the opening of the "Symphony No. 6" to experience the utterly transparent sound. Highly recommended, along with the two previous volumes, which were released in 2012 and 2013.